How user-centered design is changing the way people work in retail

by Infor Retail April 20, 2016 Digital Transformation

Q&A with Melanie O’Donnell, Information Architect at Infor

What makes UX in retail different from UX in other industries?

There’s a reason why retail systems haven’t been redesigned since the ‘90s: retailers have unique and complex needs—it’s a huge undertaking. The work we do and our UX processes are similar to those you’ll find in other industries, but their value in retail is unique. A well-designed enterprise software experience can empower retailers to deliver on their core values by focusing on customer service, allowing them to tell a unique retail story with their products.

What differentiates Infor Retail’s design process from others in the industry?

The enterprise applications at the center of many of today’s retail businesses have been built the wrong way. These older systems were built by a group of engineers and driven by requirements created by the marketplace. While they’re functional, these systems were designed to the standards of an engineer, and not with an end-user in mind. The systems are clunky, slow, and difficult to use. This, in turn, placed a much greater emphasis on the need for training. Our approach to designing retail systems is fundamentally different. We’re fierce user advocates, driven by the goal of meeting the end-user’s needs above all else.

We’re driven by the goal of meeting the end-user’s needs, above all else.

How are you working with users to improve UX for Infor Retail?

As we reinvent enterprise retail systems, we’re asking ourselves and our partners a lot of questions. How can their current processes be streamlined? How can we design new business processes to help them be more efficient? How do we leverage their data to help with forecasting and merchandising so that they can order smarter? How can we help retailers meet their goals, such as increasing process efficiency across stores and at the corporate level? How can we help retailers stay up-to-date with consumer tastes and trends?

We’re learning about retailers’ goals and needs by spending a lot of time with them. We observe, we ask questions, and we listen in an attempt to understand what everyday work is like across the business, from the CEO to the cashier. What kind of environment do they work in? What equipment and systems do they use? What challenges do they face—and what frustrates them about their current processes? By asking the users firsthand, we can better understand the intricacies of what they need. Once we’ve gathered those insights, we translate those needs into functional requirements that eventually lead to the design of interfaces that solve their challenges.

We’re changing how people work.

For example, our partnership with Whole Foods Market gives us a unique opportunity to expand the value proposition even further by increasing transparency for their customers, helping their teams better manage their margins, reducing food waste, taking customer service to another level, telling the story of where the food comes from, increasing productivity and efficiency, and enabling smarter decision-making. By putting the users first, we’re changing how people work.

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